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Stop sweeping toxic mould under the 'carpet'

Stop sweeping toxic mould under the 'carpet'

Green MP and Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley is calling on the Government to urgently begin a survey of at-risk homes to determine the extent of the toxic mould stachybotrys in New Zealand houses.

The survey is one of several health-related recommendations included in the report of the select committee inquiry into leaky buildings, tabled in Parliament today.

Ms Kedgley, a member of the inquiry with a particular interest in health issues, also urged the Government to offer 'assistance packages' to homeowners suffering health problems associated with rotting buildings. The Government should also immediately distribute OSH guidelines on toxic mould removal and remediation to all builders and affected home owners, she said. (The committee also recommended these two measures).

Ms Kedgley said a significant number of submitters had complained of health problems from leaky homes, ranging from breathing difficulties to chronic fatigue. Prendos Limited told the committee it had identified 65 dwellings in the Auckland area with stachybotrys, and estimated that the problem was widespread.

So far, affected homeowners have been unable to get any formal help or recognition of their problems. "What they really need is excellent medical advice for any health problems, and guidance on how to safely and effectively have the mould removed from their properties," Ms Kedgley said.

Ms Kedgley said the Government had a duty under the Health Act 1956 to protect the health of people living in homes affected by damp and mould such as stachybotrys. Stachyboytrys is a toxic mould that has been implicated in overseas research as causing significant health problems, including even deaths in the United States," Ms Kedgley said.

Ms Kedgley said the Government must act on the recommendations of the report of the Government Administration Committee's inquiry into the weathertightness of buildings and not sweep them under the sopping carpet of the leaky home debacle.

Ms Kedgley said other key recommendations of the inquiry that must be implemented include: * That the Building Industry Authority develop industry-wide standards for the vetting and licensing of specialists involved in removal and repair work associated with toxic mould. * That the health effects of any new building materials be assessed prior to its approval. * That if H3 treated timber is to be used, alternatives to CCA timber be sought.

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